Sixth-ranked Arizona State traveled to Reser Stadium and added its name to the Beavers’ list of top-10 takedowns following Oregon State's 35-27 victory.
How the game was won: When Oregon State senior linebacker Michael Doctor picked off Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown to put the Beavers ahead by the final margin. That was the play that sealed it for Oregon State, but it came on the tails of the Beavers finding ways to be opportunistic while Arizona State played sloppy. Kelly was 9-of-20 for 85 yards and 1 interception in the second half while the Sun Devil defense gave up big, big plays and tossed in a few penalties as well.
Game ball goes to: Oregon State’s run game. The Beavers were averaging 108 rushing yards per game. Against the Sun Devils, they exceeded that ... in the first quarter. Terron Ward and Storm Woods combined for 2 touchdowns and 273 yards on 30 carries. The Beavers finished with 247 total rushing yards -- the most rushing yardage ASU had given up this season (the Sun Devils gave up 225 against UCLA).
What it means: It opens up the Pac-12 South Division quite a bit. The Sun Devils now sit at 5-2 in the conference along with Arizona and UCLA, while USC is at 6-2. It seemed as though ASU would be the most likely candidate to face Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game, but now it could still be either Arizona, UCLA or USC.
Playoff implication: Arizona State's playoff case is harder to plead. Even if the Sun Devils are able to make it to the Pac-12 championship game and beat Oregon, the committee doesn’t have to accept a two-loss Pac-12 champion -- especially one that lost late in the season to an unranked, last-place-in-the-North-Division Oregon State.
From a wider perspective, the Sun Devils’ loss makes the entire conference’s playoff chances a bit murkier. If whatever two-loss (or more) team from the South manages to beat Oregon in the conference championship game, that would mean the committee would either be choosing a two- or three-loss conference champion or a two-loss Duck team -- assuming it wins out -- that didn’t win the conference championship. So, if you’re an SEC West fan, take note, this is the scenario you should be cheering for.
Best play: Doctor's pick-six. Clutch play for a guy who spent most of last year on the sideline following a season-ending ankle injury during the second game of 2013. Doctor's pick is among the most important of the Pac-12 season.
What's next: Arizona State licks its wounds and tries to take care of business against Washington State, which would mean that a spot in the Pac-12 championship could be on the line in the Territorial Cup against Arizona on Nov. 28 (depending on how things shake out with a few other Pac-12 South teams). Oregon State can revel in this win, which makes coach Mike Riley look a bit better in the eyes of fans and the Oregon State athletic department. The Beavers need to pick up a win over either Washington or Oregon in their final two games to become bowl eligible.